Tuesday, May 19, 2009
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Iraq slides election to Jan.
BAGHDAD - National parliamentary elections will be held Jan. 30, Iraqi officials announced Monday, sliding the date into next year in a move that could complicate the U.S. timetable for drawing down its forces.
The new parliament will choose a prime minister and Cabinet, a process that could take months. A long and turbulent delay in setting up a new government could force President Barack Obama to revise his goal of removing most of American troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will be hoping to build on his success in last January's provincial balloting to form a strong government capable of dealing with the security and economic challenges facing this country as the American role fades.
But a recent spate of deadly bombings in Baghdad has tarnished his image, and the threat of more violence could rise as U.S. forces redeploy outside of urban areas by June 30 as scheduled.
Four-hour fire at EU Commission forces evacuation
BRUSSELS - A four-hour fire at the European Union's landmark Commission headquarters Monday sent the EU's top officials scurrying down 13 floors of stairs to safety and forced the evacuation of a few thousand bureaucrats and visitors.
Officials said the fire likely started in the basement archive before heat and gases raced upward through a wire shaft to the executive floors where EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his fellow commissioners were at work in their offices.
Brussels Fire Dept. spokesman Francis Boileau said the blaze started at lunchtime and 40 firefighters needed all afternoon to get it under control.
Brother of Afghan president alive after ambush
KABUL - Rockets and machine gunfire buffeted an Afghan government motorcade in an apparent assassination attempt on the president's brother on Monday, the brother said. A bodyguard was killed.
The second apparent attempt on Ahmad Wali Karzai's life in less than two months underscores the danger facing even the most well-protected Afghans in a country under siege from Taliban militants and going into a summer that many predict will be very violent.
An additional 21,000 U.S. troops have started arriving in Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama's plan to bolster troop strength enough to push back the resurgent Taliban.